On Tue, 10 Jun 2003 19:04:33 +0000, tgpedersen <tgpedersen@...>

>I would argue
>something like this (this is not news): Japanese does fine without
>pronouns, so obviously pronouns are not a philosophically necessary
>category in languages; can we therefore exclude that the idea
>of "pronoun" arose with the spread of a set of ideas of "animateness"
>or the like

Yes, we can pretty much exclude that. Japanese does have personal
pronouns, even if their use is somewhat avoided in the language. For
Japanese-Ryukyuan, Starostin reconstructs the pronouns *bà "I" and *ná
"thou", which (irrespective of the accuracy of Starostin's
reconstructions), to me implies that modern Japanese does not represent a
pristine stage of p.p.-less languages, but that it had "normal" personal
pronouns in its past, as indeed all languages do.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal